Still me

My photo
Bits and bobs about my life in my lovely home, Thatchwick Cottage, Pretoria, South Africa.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wednesday, 18 February: Discovering my Grandma


This almost-century-old photo of my Grandmother, Ida Mabel Hammond (nee Boucher)(1890-1965) was snapped in 1917 in the former Transkei region of South Africa. The little tyke she is hugging is my Dad, Leslie Alfred Hammond.

Why the sudden posting? Well, Ida is the grandparent I knew the best; yet one about whom I know the least! This is about to change! A year ago I posted a query for information on a South African Ancestry website; this morning I received an email from Ida's grand-nephew, who lives in East London, South Africa. He found my query and mailed to say that he has lots of interesting family history which he is going is share with me.

What do I do know to date? Ida Mabel was born on July 21, 1890 in Queenstown, Eastern Cape. She was one of eleven children born to Priestwood Boucher and Mary Jane Boucher (nee Armstrong). Her parents were married in 1875 according to the rites of the Church of England. After young Ida married my grandfather, George Hubert Hammond, they lived on a trading station in the Transkei and had three sons: George, Leslie and Clarence. When my Grandpa lost his sight as a result of glaucoma, the little family moved to East London. Grandpa was employed as a gardener at a Children's Home, bending over the flowerbeds to smell the flowers which he could not see. Granny worked as a seamstress for a Department Store. Later the elderly couple moved in with their youngest son and family who lived in Pretoria; I was growing up in Cape Town. But I do remember Granny Hammond's infrequesnt visits to our home. She was a forceful old lady who spoke her mind. She taught me to lay a tea tray 'the English way'. She was optimistic, ramrod straight, bold and generous. I remember the gifts of a one rand coin made to my brother and I, although she had very little money of her own. She was always neatly dressed in home-tailored skirts, blouses and hand knits. She struck me as someone who was never a victim but who tackled life's setbacks with vigour. She adored her sons!

13 comments:

Smilingsal said...

Now, that's MY kinda lady! I want to hear more.

debbie said...

HAPPY WEDNESDAY ELEANOR
WHAT JOY YOU BROUGHT ME TODAY WITH YOUR POST. HOW VERY WONDERFUL TO RECEIVE A LETTER FROM THE GRAND NEPHEW OF YOUR GRANDMOTHER.
MY HUSBANDS GRANDMOTHER WAS NAMED IDA. SHE HAD BEAUTIFUL LONG WHITE HAIR SHE WORE IN A VERY TIGHT BUN ON HER HEAD AND ALTHOUGH SHE WAS A STERN WOMAN SHE WAS VERY LOVING. I THINK HER STERNESS CAME BECAUSE GRANDFATHER DIED AT AN EARLY AGE AND HER SURVIVOR SKILLS WERE TAKEN AS BEING STERN....TO ME IT WAS LIKE SHE COULD NOT DO A THING ABOUT GRANDFATHER'S DEATH BUT SHE COULD AND WOULD MAKE LIFE GO HER WAY AND THINGS WENT HER WAY AND SHE RAN A STERN SHIP BUT I WAS SO BLESSED TO KNOW HER AND SAD SHE NEVER LIVED LONG ENOUGH TO MEET MY CHILDREN. I LOVED HER SO.
I THINK YOUR GRANDMOTHER WOULD SMILE AT WHAT YOU HAD TO SAY ABOUT HER.
I LOVED THE STORY...THE PICTURE AND SO LOOKING FORWARD TO EACH FUTURE POST.
HOW IS THE WEATHER THERE???
HUGS
debbie

willow said...

My great grandma was Ida, too! Born in the same time frame. Mine was Ida Belle, born in Escambia Co, Alabama.

Lovely photo and post, Eleanor.

I blogged on Un Homme et Une Femme yesterday!

Barbara Martin said...

My grandmother was born, too, in the same time frame (1886-1964), whose name was Edith Martin, born in Birmingham, England. She taught me about being strong when dire things happened. That advice has stood me in good stead over the years.

Your post was wonderful and brought memories flooding back. Hopefully you will write more, and I will be doing a post in the future about a distant cousin who wrote travel memoirs.

Janet said...

Oh how I love hearing about family history! I have been threatening to do some research on my family - you have just inspired me to do so sooner rather than later!
Have a lovely day!

Poetikat said...

Fascinating stuff, Eleanor. It's amazing to trace one's roots. You must be so excited. The photograph is charming too.

Kat

Ms.Daisy said...

Hi Eleanor, I am very late in getting to visiting my blogging friends! Thanks for stopping by and saying "hi." I love the photo of your Grandmother and Father - such a loving picture to cherish. My daughter is keeping up with our family's genealogy and it is fascinating! My Father's Mother was born in the same era and lived into her 97th year!

Hugs,
Jean

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Eleanor, it sounds like you are well on your way to finding out a lot of interesting facts about your family. I love genealogy and have spent hours and hours delving into mine and my husband's. To a hitorian/genealogist, the people of the past are just as alive as the people in the next room.

Best of luck with finding all the information you're seeking. My paternal grandmother was born in 1873, and her husband was born in 1861. My father is also old enough to be my grandfather as his father was old enough to be his. But I wouldn't trade my father for anything on this planet. He was one of a kind.

XO,

Sheila :-)

Adel and Robyn Kadis said...

Hi Eleanor, just found your blog via another and had to write. I am a South African lady living in Egypt and I lived in Pretoria for many years, both my children were born there at the Marifont. My Egyptian husband and I love birding and it was great to see your bird list. We also had many many garden birds visiting over the years. I miss SA so much, and love your beautiful garden, reminds me so much of home. Keep well and God Bless.

Neabear said...

I love the picture! A wonderful portrayal of a mother's love for her son. Beautiful! At first I had thought you had moved to South Africa. Now I am realizing you must have grown up there. I want to hear more....

Raph G. Neckmann said...

How wonderful to be getting information on your family like this, Eleanor! Your grandmother sounds a wonderful character.

MARIA said...

Good Morning Eleanor!
I visited you but I had a problem with post comment. Hope today it will be ok.

MARIA said...

Yea, today is ok.
I love an old photos. This your photo is a Special. Share more story, it is very interesting.